Every great leader knows the dangers of adopting a position of neutrality in times of moral crisis. There is little to no honour in avoiding making serious decisions; one has to stand for principle even if it might momentarily mean standing alone; it is the decency and state of consciousness that matters, the gentleness and clarity that commands respect. It is genuine interest, awareness and love in that which matters for the public that connects a politician with the public and which in turn creates security in the hearts and minds of the led.
Dealing with the complexity of our Mthwakazi nation requires wisdom, it places greater challenge to would-be leaders to understand public affairs. However, at the moment it would appear we have individuals within the pro-Mthwakazi movement who are very ignorant about public affairs and very susceptible to simplistic slogans. That is an unhealthy condition in a country in which tribalism and/ or majoritarian tyranny has always endorsed policy to be pursued by government.
Pro-Mthwakazi activists are warned to tread very carefully in their attempts to deal with the obvious injustices propagated by ZANU PF and the MDC organisations; remember it takes very little for the oppressed to become the new oppressors. Already we find ourselves in a situation where incredulous prepositions such as the expulsion of some ethnic groups from Mthwakazi (Matabeleland and the Midlands) are casually flaunted about, and one wonders how such ideas pass the filter of a credible organisation’s communication structures to reach the public.
History is awash with examples of senseless, anger driven mass expulsions from countries of residents or citizens of particular heritage or nationality. The expulsion of Asians from Uganda did not improve an ordinary black person’s life situation in Uganda; the expulsion of Ghanaians from Nigeria did not improve ordinary Nigerians’ life opportunities. To think there are prominent pro-Mthwakazi activists who believe and expect the public to believe that the expulsion of ethnic Shona people from Matabeleland is the solution to our problems belies belief. If our systemic tribalism is genuinely reason we are ZANU PF and the MDC, anti-tribalism must be our default policy. Tribalism cannot only be wrong when we are victims but every time.
We argue here that calls for the expulsion of ethnic Shona people from Mthwakazi do not save public interest and are a reaction to the inability by some political groups to understand complexities of Mthwakazi’s sociocultural diversity and the fact the Midlands which is part of Mthwakazi has communities of the Shona tribe. Arguably, to mask their ignorance these political groups search for simplistic sources of comfort and clarity; they then select stunningly ignorant individuals to be spokespersons of their anxieties.
If we are to make real and sustained progress on the ground, our policies must be able to withstand scrutiny; they must prove they are not populist but credible; to achieve that, we must work to develop an awareness of our present, our people and communities. With greater awareness of communities, every economic/ political decision we make, every policy we write up, every strategy we adopt will be a reflection of the Mthwakazi public’s needs.
At the core of Mthwakazi politics, that is, underneath its very existence, should be neither chaos nor hatred nor emptiness but discipline and genuine love for humanity. We make it clear herein that we are not protecting tribes or races but human beings, their rights and their God given environment.
We are witnesses to the controversy following the USA early November 2020 presidential elections, and at no other time has the importance of good and strong institutions been clearly demonstrated. We need to adopt a disciplined approach in our building of the relevant institutions and processes that allow for the selection of leaders into positions.
Our target should be to empower the public to identify relatable, knowledgeable, brave and persuasive leaders who will be prepared to take us to where we should be not where we want to be; leaders who will inspire us to leave our comfort zone to identify more of our abilities and ask even more questions of ourselves. Above all, we want leaders who will be accountable to us.
Given Mthwakazi experience under the rule of ZANU PF, in particular the genocide of the early 1980s, is horrific, we need calm heads to build a better nation and demand accountability for the genocidal acts of that period. Anger is not a good base for decision making; angry leaders tend to lack the patience required to develop and work towards safe long-term real solutions. Our movements need to avoid eliciting irresponsible emotional responses from their susceptible followers (at the expense of objectivity) to earn authority to employ disproportionate and often destructive interventions.
You can expel every tribe you believe or suspect of being the source of Mthwakazi’s problems but true solutions will only derive from an honest investment in good institutions and processes that will be a long-term source of our strength. Good institutions will ably protect us from ourselves and external interference. Our political dreams of a fairer society and accountable political system will only materialise if our politicians are brave enough and ready to put their trust in the common sense of common men to turn political, economic and social democracy a practical reality.